Life Is An Empty Canvas

Fri, 16 October 1978 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - Sufis - The Secret
Chapter #:
am in Buddha Hall
Archive Code:
Short Title:
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The first question:

Question 1:



Shantidharma, trust does not mean that everything will be all right. Trust means everything is already all right. Trust knows no future; trust knows only the present. The moment you think of the future, it is already distrust.

The moment you start thinking, "Everything will be all right if I can trust," your mind is active, you are not trusting. You are simply trying to manipulate existence, now through passivity, but the manipulation is there. Inactivity is not trust. If this motive is there, that "Everything has to be all right for me," you are watching by the corner of the eye. You have not yet understood what trust is.

You are hanging between activity and inactivity, and activity and inactivity are just two aspects of the same coin. They are not opposites, they are complementaries. And you will go on hanging between those, wavering between those two, because when you will do something, sooner or later you will get tired.

Each action brings tiredness, and then one starts hoping that something will happen through inaction. If you are in inaction, through inaction you will get bored sooner or later. Every inactivity bores, and then you move to action. This is the duality of action and inaction. You have not yet known what trust is.

Trust is neither action nor inaction. Trust can act, trust can be inactive. Trust simply means all is already right; there is no need to hanker for something else. "A" need not be "B". Whatsoever you are, you are, and it is good. Relaxing into it does not mean becoming inactive - because you may be an active person, so if you relax in it, great activity will be released. Or you may be an inactive person: if you relax in it, great inactivity may be released. But that has nothing to do with you.

You are not deciding whether to be active or inactive; you are simply relaxing into whosoever you are. Then whatsoever happens happens, whatsoever is happening is happening, and all is good, because God is.

I am not saying, let me repeat again, that you will necessarily become inactive, no. Lao Tzu will become inactive, Krishna will not become inactive, but both are men of trust. Then where do they meet? - because their personalities are totally different, not only different but diametrically opposite.

Krishna lives a life of intense activity and Lao Tzu lives a life of tremendous passivity, but both are men of trust.

Lao Tzu has trusted and relaxed and this is what he finds happening to him, that he falls deeper and deeper into passivity. He becomes just a presence, a silent presence. If something happens at all through him, it is action through inaction. Remember these words: action through inaction. If something at all happens through him, he is just a catalytic agent. It happens through his presence, not through his activity.

Just the opposite is the case with Krishna: he is all activity. He is also a man of trust. He has relaxed into himself and in that very relaxation he has exploded into a thousand and one actions. If sometimes you find him inactive, that simply means action is getting ready, action is pregnant in his inaction.

If Lao Tzu is action through inaction, then Krishna is inaction through action. But both are men of trust. As far as trust is concerned there is no difference at all, both have relaxed.

When a rose relaxes it becomes a rose, and when a lotus relaxes it becomes a lotus. Lotus is lotus, rose is rose - both are different - but as far as their relaxation is concerned, their acceptance is concerned, it is the same acceptance, the same being, the same trust.

Shantidharma, don't start thinking that trust is synonymous with inactivity; it is not. So simply relax into your own self.

And a third possibility is also there, because Jesus is both. Sometimes he is active and sometimes very inactive. He is just standing between Lao Tzu and Krishna. If Krishna is all action and Lao Tzu all inaction, Jesus is just exactly in the middle - a great synthesis. Sometimes he is very active, and then he goes to the mountains for forty days to fast, to sit silently with the trees, to meditate, to be with God. Then he comes back again to the world. He is a revolutionary, a rebel. But again and again he says to his disciples, "Now it is enough and I would like to go into seclusion." Again and again he goes to meditate in the mountains, he disappears for days, and then again he is there in the world like a flame, a torch burning from both ends together.

All these three possibilities are there. Simply relax and let things happen. But don't misunderstand trust as inactivity.

That has happened in this country: trust became inactivity. This country has thought for centuries that if you trust in God, then there is no need to do anything. And it looks logical too: if you trust that he is the doer, then why should you bother? You just sit silently, wait; whenever it is going to happen, it is going to happen; and if it is not going to happen, it is not going to happen. Why interfere? The whole country became lethargic, passive. It has lost all luster.

And the West has taken another extreme: because God's existence became suspicious through scientific evolution, God is no more so certain as he used to be, his existence is uncertain, so to trust in him may be simply stupid. Man has to act on his own. So the West has taken just the opposite route, to be active, constantly active - so much so that even in the night people cannot fall asleep. The activity has become chronic; even in their sleep they toss and turn and they talk and they dream. Their sleep is a disturbed sleep, and many have completely forgotten how to sleep.

Insomnia is becoming almost a universal phenomenon in the West - too much activity. Because "God is not", so you cannot trust.

In the East, too much inactivity - because "God is", So you need not act - but both standpoints are utterly foolish.

Trust simply means that you relax into your nature. Whether God is or is not has nothing to do with trust. That too has to be understood.

Whenever you use the word "trust" you always ask, "In whom?" as if trust needs an object. No, trust does not need any object. Trust is a state of your being; it is not object-oriented. A man who does not believe in God can trust, and a man who believes in God may not trust; God is not so important, not necessarily needed. For example, Buddha trusts; he does not believe in God. Mahavira trusts; he does not believe in God. Lao Tzu trusts; he neither believes in God nor disbelieves in God; he never talks about God, God is almost irrelevant.

Then trust is something which happens in you, it has no outer reference. Trust is your relaxed state of being. Trust means be yourself: don't do anything which goes against your nature. You can call nature "God" or you can call God "nature"; it is just a question of preference. If you are a theist, call nature "God"; if you are an atheist, perfectly good, call God "nature" - but trust remains the very foundation of a real life.

And then whatsoever happens - action, inaction, both - allow it. Go into it deeply, totally, wholly.

The second question:

Question 2:


Vandan, the ordinary life of humanity is a continuous effort to avoid oneself. Everybody is doing it, in different ways of course. Nobody can sit silently and be alone. Watch yourself, how fidgety you become if there is nothing to do. If the radio is not there and television is not there and the newspaper is not there and you don't have a book to read and nobody to talk to, just think how fidgety, restless you become. You are almost in a panic, as if you are dying. You need something to remain occupied with, you cannot be with yourself.

And whenever you are with yourself you start feeling bored. Now, this is strange. And if somebody else feels bored with you, you feel very hurt, but you yourself feel bored with yourself! And everybody is the same: nobody feels good being alone.

Man is constantly escaping from himself; that is his whole activity. In business, chasing money, or in politics, chasing power, a constant need to be amused is there, to be entertained is there. Go to the football match or go to the cricket match or go to the races - but go somewhere. Join some club, some crowd, go to the movie, be a spectator somewhere or other, but don't ever sit silently.

Why? What is the fear? Because the moment you sit silently, the first thing that one experiences is a tremendous loneliness - and fear arises out of it, and pain and anguish. When you sit silently for a few moments, you suddenly see that your whole life is just illusory. You are only believing that you have friends - because nobody is going to be with you when you die. You are only believing that you have a wife, a husband, children, father, mother, brothers. These are all just make-believes so that you are never allowed to know your loneliness.

Whenever you are alone, that loneliness erupts, surfaces. Suddenly you start feeling yourself a stranger in a vast world, an abysmal world, infinite. And you are there, just a tiny speck of dust - although conscious, but so tiny, so helpless, so powerless, and all alone. That creates pain, panic, anguish. You rush back into some activity, you start doing something or other that keeps you away from this truth.

There are only two types of people: one, who escape from their loneliness - the majority, the ninety- nine point nine percent, who escape from themselves; and the remaining point one percent is the meditator, who says, "If loneliness is a truth, then it is a truth; then there is no point in running away from it. It is better to go into it, encounter it, see it face to face, what it is."

Meditation means going into your loneliness wholeheartedly, to discover it, to investigate it, to inquire into it. That's what meditation is all about.

And the person who is a meditator is religious; all others are just worldly. They may go to the churches, to the temples, to the synagogues - that doesn't matter, that doesn't mean a thing. That is again an occupation. Going to the temple, to the church, to the synagogue is an occupation. It is exactly the same as going to the Lion's Club or the Rotary Club or to the movie or to the cricket match; it is the same, a religious kind of entertainment. You can go there, and you get involved in something, a ritual, a prayer, music, this and that.

Meditation means you are not escaping anymore. Although it hurts, but you are not escaping. It is painful, but you are not escaping. If it is there, you have to face it, to inquire as deeply as possible into it, because it is your reality. And by knowing it deeply you will become a man of wisdom.

Vandan, what you are feeling is the first step of meditation. You are encountering your loneliness.

If you go on encountering it, if you are courageous enough and you go on encountering it and you don't start escaping, then loneliness one day changes its color: it becomes aloneness. And that is the moment of great mutation, when loneliness become aloneness. They don't mean the same thing, they are worlds apart.

Loneliness is when you hanker for something, some occupation; when you hanker for the other and you miss the other, that is loneliness. And when you have started enjoying it, the beauty, the austere beauty of being alone, the silence, the stillness, the joy of just being, breathing in the sun, just sitting under a tree doing nothing, listening to the birds, just being utterly herenow, and a great joy arises...


But before that joy, there is going to be much pain. It happens only when you have passed through your pain. The pain is just like when somebody wants to leave alcohol; he will feel much pain because he has become addicted to alcohol. Now he will go through withdrawal symptoms. The body will ask, the mind will ask, because they always become settled with routines: the mind will say "I need alcohol"; the body will say "I need alcohol". There is great thirst, great urge - "What are you doing?" And you will feel great pain.

If you can persist and remain patient and watching, withdrawal symptoms will disappear sooner or later. It depends on you. If you are really determined to go into it, those withdrawal symptoms will disappear.

Vandan, you are feeling withdrawal symptoms. You have become addicted to the other. Now for the first time you are taking a courageous step of being lonely: the pain will be there. It is a birth pain, pain of growth. It will disappear, nothing to be worried about. It is good, because it is not going to harm you. Escapes harm, encounters never. Facing a truth is always maturing, helps you to become integrated. Escaping from the truth is living a lie. You can deceive, but you are simply deceiving yourself and nobody else, and you will be the loser in the end.

If one starts allowing this pain... Let it be. Note that there is pain, but don't do anything about it. Let it be. An old habit is disappearing... it hurts. Slowly, slowly you will see your inner sky changing - from darkness to light, from loneliness to aloneness. Aloneness is the joy of being yourself. Loneliness is the misery of missing the other. Aloneness is positive, loneliness is negative.

And the man who can be alone, blissfully alone, becomes a Buddha. The man who can be utterly alone has arrived home. His is the great benediction. He is a Sufi.

The third question:

Question 3:


The question is from Hans Conard Zander. He is a reporter from Germany; he represents the famous magazine STERN.

Coming from Germany and asking for an ordinary Mercedes-Benz? - it is like carrying coal to Newcastle. And this is the only question he has asked. Coming from Germany, from so far away, representing a very reputable, famous magazine, and only this question to ask? It shows much.

Hans Conrad Zander had been a monk before he became a journalist. That repression must still be there. He has not asked about God, not about meditation, not about love, but he has asked about a car. The monk has not yet died. This is the ugliness of monkhood: you impose certain things upon yourself forcibly. Your poverty is imposed. Your poverty is not your joy, it is your suffering.

The monks become poor because they are greedy. They want the joys of paradise later on. And they figure it out that this life is short - and particularly when you are a Christian you have only one life, just a short life - by the time you start thinking about life, half of it is already gone - so it is only a question of a few years, and then the eternal joys, forever and forever.

If Hans reaches paradise, the first thing that he will ask for will be a Mercedes-Benz! Coming to me, and asking such a stupid thing....

Hans, it is yours, you can take it away right now. But one thing I must tell you before you start taking it away: it does not belong to me. You may get into some legal trouble. As far as I am concerned, I am absolutely agreeing; you can take it away.

Nothing belongs to me. I have not a single pai with me, no bank account. You can see - I don't even have pockets, because there is nothing to put in!

You can take it. It is just as if you ask me, "Can I take the moon?" I will say "Of course you can take it. As far as I am concerned, I have no objection. You can take the moon. "

I have heard that two hippies were sitting under a tree, were getting very high, were stoned. It was a full-moon night, and one hippie looked at the moon and said, "I would like to purchase it, whatsoever the cost. I am ready to pay for it, whatsoever the cost."

"The other said, "Forget all about it, because I am not selling it."

My saying to you that you can take it would be as absurd; because it does not belong to me at all.

Nothing belongs to me. All that you see here belongs to this commune of the sannyasins; I am just a guest. I am grateful to my sannyasins because they take every care of me. Otherwise, nothing belongs to me. Any day they can say, "Goodbye," and I have to go.

But it shows much about your mind, what kind of mind you have been carrying.

The old lady was a strict teetotaller and always had a glass of milk with her meal. One day she went to a friend's wedding and some practical joker put some gin in the old lady's milk, unknown to her.

She sipped the milk, savored it, drank some more... and finally emptied the glass.

Then, with a smile on her face she said, "What a cow! What a cow! "

That's what is happening to you: "What a car! What a car! " This is ugly. This is ugly because this type of mind can never be at ease, can never be relaxed, can never know the joys of existence. This kind of mind will remain always in misery. The more you hanker for things, the more miserable you will be.

And the hankering never comes to an end. You can have all the gadgets that modern technology has made available, and yet you will be in misery because more and more is coming on every day.

And even if you can get the whole world, still you will be miserable because this mind that asks for more goes on asking for more. If you have this world, then the mind will start talking about the other world - how to possess the moon, how to have a plot there.

In Japan there is a travel agency: they are selling tickets to the moon, and all the seats are already booked. On the first of January, 1985 the plane leaves; be in a hurry. They are asking fantastic prices for the tickets, and tickets are being sold on the black market. That will be the first trip according to them; anybody can go.

Sooner or later you will see people will be making bungalows on the moon, and then those who don't have a bungalow on the moon will suffer.

People, without seeing this eternal, infinite obsession with the "more", go on doing all kinds of things.

They even become monks.

Hans became a monk. He must have become a monk in order to get free of all this desiring mind - but you cannot get free by becoming a monk. Then one day he must have got tired, so he dropped the robes of the monk, came back into the world. But this is not going to help, you can move from one extreme to the other.

Understanding helps, not moving from one extreme to the other.

Kelly had been poverty-stricken all his life, but then an American relative left him a legacy of a million dollars. Kelly decided that he would take things easy for the rest of his life.

One day he was out driving in his big car when he said to the chauffeur, "Drive over a stone, my good man. There is some ash on the end of my cigar."

Now, taking life easy.... People move from one extreme to the other but they remain the same, because understanding happens only in the middle.

Hans has been here for a few days, and he is very antagonistic to this place, very antagonistic to sannyasins....

He told Prasad that because he has been a monk, he does not like the idea of sannyas at all. Now, this is without knowing that my sannyasins are not monks or nuns! My sannyasins are exactly in the middle: they are neither worldly nor otherworldly. They are exactly in the middle, settling in the middle, settling in a kind of balance.

Whatsoever you have, use it gratefully. Whenever you have, use it gratefully, thankfully. When you don't have it, use that not-having gratefully also. When you are poor, thank God that you are poor, because poverty has also a few joys of its own which no rich man can ever have. When you are rich, thank God that you are rich, because there are a few joys which only rich people can have, no poor man can ever have.

So I am neither for poverty and against richness nor for richness and against poverty. I am for trust.

The poor man wants to be rich; that is distrust. The rich man wants to be poor, thinks maybe the poor man is enjoying something that he is missing; that is distrust. I teach you: wherever you are, wherever you find yourself, enjoy whatsoever you have - enjoy it totally.

Sometimes if you have nothing to eat, rather than feeling hungry, make it a fast. That is the art of life. Why not transform it into a fast? Hunger can be transformed into a fast, and then it has a beauty of its own because it is no more forced upon you. You have been artistic about it. Just a little touch of your meditation, and hunger becomes a fast. A fast has a beauty, hunger is just ugly. You were starving, you changed the face of starvation; you made it beautiful, you started celebrating it.

When you have to eat, let it be a feast. Thank God.

Wherever you are and whatsoever is available, feel thankful and prayerful.

But that is not the way people are living. They are constantly asking for that which they don't have - and you will always be asking for that which you don't have. Life is short, and there are millions of things you will always be missing. People don't live in what they have, they live in what they don't have. That's why they live an empty life and fullness never happens.

Otherwise everybody is so rich, already so rich, that if he knows how to enjoy it, even emperors will feel jealous of him.

But coming here to report about this ashram, these beautiful people, this great experiment, and then asking about a car that you could have better asked about in Germany.... German roads are full of Mercedes-Benzes; they are everywhere, it is the common car in Germany. But Hans, you must be having a very, very repressed mind.

And I am surprised that a magazine like STERN sends you here to investigate about meditation.

You should have been sent to a car garage!

The fourth question:

Question 4:


It depends on you. Life in itself is an empty canvas, it becomes whatsoever you paint on it. You can paint misery, you can paint bliss.

This freedom is your glory. You can use this freedom in such a way that your whole life becomes a hell, or in such a way that your life becomes a thing of beauty, benediction, bliss, something heavenly.

It all depends on you; man has all freedom.

That's why there is so much agony, because people are foolish and they don't know what to paint on the canvas.

It is left to you: that is the glory of man. That is one of the greatest gifts of God to you. No other animal has been given the gift of being free, every animal is given an already fixed program. All animals are programmed except man. A dog is bound to be a dog, and forever a dog; nothing else is possible, there is no freedom. He is programmed, everything is built-in. The blueprint is there, he will simply follow the blueprint: he will be a dog. There is no choice for him, no alternatives are available. He is an absolutely fixed entity.

Except for man, everything is programmed. The rose has to be a rose, the lotus has to be a lotus, the bird will have wings, the animal will walk on four legs.

Man is utterly free: that is the beauty of man, the glory. The immense gift of God is freedom. You are left unprogrammed, you don't carry a blueprint. You have to create yourself, you have to be self- creative. So it all depends on you: you can become a Buddha, a Bahaudin, or you can become an Adolf Hitler, a Benito Mussolini. You can become a murderer or a meditator. You can allow yourself to become a beautiful flowering of consciousness, or you can become a robot.

But remember, you are responsible - and only you, and nobody else.

An optimist is a man who goes to the window in the morning and says, "Good morning, God"

A pessimist is one who goes to the window and says, "My God, it is morning?"

It all depends on you. It is the same morning, maybe the same window, maybe the pessimist and the optimist are staying in the same room - but it depends. And what a difference when you say, "Good morning, God" and when you say, "My God, it is morning?"

I have heard an ancient Sufi parable:

Two disciples of a great Master were walking in the garden of the Master's house. They were allowed to walk every day, morning, evening. The walking was a kind of meditation, a walking meditation - just as Zen people do walking meditation. You cannot sit for twenty-four hours - the legs need a little movement, the blood needs a little circulation - so in Zen and in Sufism both, you meditate for a few hours sitting and then you start meditating walking. But the meditation continues; walking or sitting, the inner current remains the same.

They both were smokers. They both wanted to ask for the permission of the Master, so they both decided, "Tomorrow. At the most, he will say no, but we are going to ask. And it doesn't seem such a sacrilegious act to smoke in the garden; we will not be smoking in his house itself. "

The next day they met in the garden. One was furious - furious because the other was smoking - and he said, "What happened? I also asked, but he simply flatly refused and said no. And you are smoking? Are you not abiding by his orders?"

He said, "But he has said yes to me.

"This looked very unjust. And the first said, "I will go and immediately inquire as to why he said no to me and yes to you."

The other said, "Wait a minute. Please tell me what you had asked." He said, "What I had asked? I had asked a simple thing, 'Can I smoke while meditating?' He said, 'No!' and he looked very angry.


The other started laughing; he said, "Now I know what is the matter. I asked, 'Can I meditate while smoking?' He said 'yes.'"

It all depends. Just a little difference, and life is totally something else. Now, there is a great difference. Asking, "Can I smoke while meditating?" is just ugly. But asking, " Can I meditate while smoking?" - it's perfectly okay. Good! At least you will be meditating.

Life is neither misery nor bliss. Life is an empty canvas, and one has to be very artistic about it.

A tramp knocked at the door of an inn named "George and the Dragon".

"Could you spare a poor man a bite to eat?" he asked the woman who answered the door.

"No! " she screamed, slamming the door.

A few seconds later, the tramp knocked again.

The same woman answered the door.

"Could I have a bite to eat?" said the tramp.

"Get out, you good-for-nothing!" shouted the woman. "And don't you ever come back! "

After a few minutes the tramp knocked at the door again.

The woman came to the door.

"Pardon," said the tramp, "but could I have a few words with George this time?"

Life is the inn called "George and the Dragon". You can ask to have a few words with George too.

The fifth question:

Question 5:


Meeto, I am an ignorant man, as ignorant as Socrates and Bodhidharma. You will have to be patient with me. I am not a scholar, and what I am saying to you is not scholarly; it is just the opposite.

Just a few days before there was a Jungian, and I said at that time, "Wait. Sooner or later, a Freudian will be coming." And now the Freudian has come.

The Jungian was very angry, Meeto, because I had mentioned Jung's name in the same breath with Freud's. He was very angry. He said, "How can you dare to mention Freud's name with Jung's in the same breath - the great Jung? It is as wrong as somebody mentioning Adolf Hitler's name in the same breath with Buddha's."

It is very unfortunate that the Jungian has left. Otherwise I would have told him to meet Meeto and have a good discussion....

I am not a scholar and I am not concerned with details. And my purpose here is not to inform you rightly; my purpose is not that of a professor. My purpose is not to inform you at all, but transform you. So it doesn't matter. If it serves transformation, I can misquote. If it serves to hit you, your knowledge, your learnedness, I can do anything.

The purpose is to hammer, the purpose is to shock you.

See the purpose. I am not reading a scholarly, learned paper about Freud. Sometimes it may look different to you, if you are very learned and you have been reading books and Freudian psychology and you have been concerned with small details. It will look difficult for you, but that's really the purpose. If you can drop your knowledge and be mad with a madman like me, then something is going to happen to you. Freud is irrelevant.

You say that I quote out of context. Out of context or not, my whole purpose is single-pointed: to destroy your attachment to knowledge. And I will use all kinds of things. And I perfectly agree with Machiavelli as far as this thing is concerned - that any means is good if the end is good.

I have heard:

It is a joke of "fact and fiction" involving two contemporary English poets, Ben Johnson and John Sylvester.

John Sylvester once told Ben Johnson, "Hey, Ben, you and I are famous poets. Let us now create a poem together. I shall construct the first line, you the next, I the third, you the fourth, and so on.

Each line must rhyme perfectly with the other. "

Ben Johnson, suspecting mischief, said, "Okay John, go ahead."

Sylvester recited his first line: "I, John Sylvester, kissed your sister, " and beamed.

An outraged Ben Johnson controlled his temper and calmly said, "I, Ben johnson, slept with your wife."

"Where is the rhyme?" fumed Sylvester.

"Rhyme or no rhyme, it is a bloody fact!" retorted Ben.

So, context or no context, it doesn't matter - it is a bloody fact.

My purpose is to destroy all attachment to words, to theories. If you are a Freudian, then I will misquote Freud; if you are a Jungian, I will misquote Jung; if you are an Adlerian, I will do the same to Adler. It doesn't matter. Freud, Jung, Adler don't matter.

All that matters is that I have to destroy this constant obsession with words, theories, hypotheses.

But I know, scholars are scholars....

The young scholar walked into the pet shop and asked if he could buy 177 cockroaches, 55 beetles,

"I am sorry, sir, but we can only supply the mice," said the owner of the pet shop. "But, out of interest, what on earth do you want all those other creatures for?"

"Well, I got evicted from my flat this morning," replied the young scholar, "and the landlord said that I must leave the place exactly as I found it. "

I am not that kind of a scholar. If sometimes you get angry, please forgive me.

In a small southern Louisiana country town, the teacher of the one-room school was giving the lesson of the day on American history. Asking questions to 'dis little girl and 'dat little boy and 'dis little boy and 'dat little girl, she came to 'dis little boy named Beaudreaux, and she says, "Beaudreaux, who signed the Declaration of Independence - uh?"

Without batting an eye, Beaudreaux says, "Teacha, me - I don't know. And that ain't all, I don't give a damn to know!"

Upset with Beaudreaux's reply, the teacher instructed him to bring his father to school with him the next day. When Beaudreaux's father arrived the next day, the teacher asked him to sit at the back of the room and just observe.

Continuing with the history lesson of the previous day, the teacher proceeded asking questions to 'dis little girl and 'dat little boy and 'dis little boy and 'dat little girl and she came once again to Beaudreaux and she says, "Beaudreaux, who signed the Declaration of Independence - uh?"

The boy, as steady as the day before, says, "Teacha, it is just like I told you yesterday. Me... I don't know. And that ain't all, I don' t give a damn to know! "

Hearing this, Beaudreaux's father jumped out of his chair, grabbed him by his collar and stiff-armed him outside. Obviously upset, but not knowing exactly what to do, the brief silent stare was broken when Beaudreaux's father says, "Now, Beaudreaux, ya know ya momma ain't got much learnin...

right? And me, I ain't got that much. So if you signed that damn paper, you get in there and told that teacha! "

I am a very ignorant man. As ignorant as Socrates, as ignorant as Bodhidharma. Please be kind with me.

The sixth question:

Question 6:


Vipassana, one cannot become ordinary. No, that is not possible. One always becomes extraordinary. Even if you try to become ordinary you will become extraordinary may be "extraordinarily ordinary", but you will become extraordinary.

Becoming cannot lead you to ordinariness. Ordinariness is to drop the idea of becoming. When you stop becoming, you are ordinary. What is the idea of becoming? - to be somebody special.

And yes, remember the cunningness and cleverness of the mind and its subtle ways of deceiving.

The egoistic person can try to become humble, but that's where he misses the whole point. You cannot try to become humble. If you try, your humbleness will be nothing but a new camouflage for the old ego, a new painting, a new coat of paint on the old ego, a new dressing, a new decoration, a renovation - but the old continues. It is the ego that was trying to become humble, and when you become humble the ego will feel very gratified. The ego will say, "Look Now there is nobody else who is as humble as I am. " But this is ego, this is not humbleness.

The really egoless person is not humble at all. He is neither arrogant nor humble; he is simply himself. The humble person is just the egoist standing on his head, doing a sirshasana, a head- stand, that's all. Nothing has changed. Do you think when you stand on your head, something changes? You simply look foolish, silly, that's all. You may think you are doing something great - yoga, et cetera - all that happens is that you look silly. Nothing changes in you.

One has to understand the desire to become. Why do you want to become somebody? Even if that somebody, the idea, the ideal, is that of being humble, ordinary even if the idea is that of becoming nobody - why do you want to become somebody in the first place? Can't you be just that which you are? From where does this desire arise? Watch, analyze, diagnose the desire to become.

You are not satisfied, you are not contented; you are condemnatory towards yourself. You are not feeling that you are the way you should be. You are carrying many shoulds in your head, and those shoulds are creating the fever of becoming.

Who is ordinary? - one who is without the fever of shoulds. And that ordinariness is nothing but godliness. Only God is ordinary, and those who are or&ry become divine. But it does not happen through becoming, it happens by dropping all desire to become.

Vipassana, you ask me, "In the process of becoming more ordinary..." It is not a process. How can you become ordinary through a process? To become ordinary simply means that you have dropped the very idea of becoming anybody - the idea of being ordinary also included in it. You have dropped the very process, you have simply accepted the way you are: tathata, suchness. You start enjoying the way you are, the person you are. Whosoever you are, you start enjoying it, you are utterly contented with it.

This is ordinariness. This is not a process; this is a sudden revelation that "I have been chasing shadows, and because I have been chasing shadows I was suffering. I was missing the present moment, the herenow which contains all. And because I was chasing shadows, it was not possible to attain them, so there was frustration again and again and again."

Becoming means you are interested in the future, not in the present. Being is in the present, becoming needs the future. Becoming is always tomorrow: tomorrow you will be ordinary, and then you will enjoy bliss, consciousness, love - but tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes, it is always today.

Be like trees, be like animals, be like birds.

Somebody asked Jesus, "What is the secret of entering into your kingdom of God?" and he said, "Ask the lilies or the fish or the flowers. Ask!" What is the secret of a lily flower? What is the beauty of the poor lily? What is the richness of the poor lily? The richness is that it is always here and now, it knows only the present time. It knows nothing of the past and nothing of the future.

Remember, if you are interested in the future you will always remain attached to the past. Why?

Because if you want to become somebody, from where will you get the knowledge to become? The knowledge will be supplied by the past, by the memory, by the skill that you have learned, by all the experiences that you have passed through. The knowledge will be supplied by the past, the know-how will be supplied by the past. If you are interested in the future, then you will remain half in the past and half in the future - and this is the division that keeps you schizophrenic. If you are just herenow, the past is not needed.

See it. Think of it. Just this moment, see it. If you are interested just in this moment, no past is needed, no skill is needed, no memory is needed, no knowledge is needed. And if you are just herenow, where is becoming? You are a being.

To be is to be ordinary. To become is to be ill, to become is to be diseased, to become is to remain insane, split, schizophrenic.

But the ego is very subtle. You rush after money, you become frustrated; one day you say, "It is nonsense, only frustration comes. Now I don't want to become extraordinary; I have tried enough.

Now I will try to become ordinary. " But trying continues - the ego has deceived you.

A vain lion wanted to find out why the other animals were not as beautiful as he. First he asked a giraffe. The giraffe did not know. Next, the lion asked a bear. The bear had no answer. Then the lion asked a hippopotamus, and again got no answer.

Finally, the lion met a mouse. He asked the mouse, "Tell me, why aren't you as big, as strong, and as beautiful as I am?"

The mouse looked up at the lion and said, "Well, I have been sick."

The ego is very subtle: it finds explanations, rationalizations. It can't allow you to see the truth. Even the mouse says, "Well, I have been sick." Even the mouse cannot accept that he is just an ordinary mouse. No, not possible.

Watch the ways of the ego. It comes always from new dimensions. If you close one door, it comes from another door. If the front door is closed, it comes from the back door.

The man who really wants to know the truth will watch, will witness all the possible ways of the ego.

Watching the possible ways of the ego again and again, a great understanding arises. One day suddenly you have seen all the games of the ego. In that very seeing, becoming is dropped.

Becoming is the shadow of the ego. Becoming is the methodology of the ego. Then you don't want to become a saint, then you don't want to become ordinary, then you don't want to become humble, then you don't want to become pure, then you don't want to become anything. You don' t even want to become God; there is nothing you want to become. Becoming simply evaporates. And in that evaporation you are left alone, beautifully alone, totally alone, with no mind.

Mind is not needed at all for the being; it is needed only for becoming. It supplies methods, know- how, technology - it is not needed, it is irrelevant. Then it falls silent. In that silence you are ordinary.

But it is not the end result of becoming. On the contrary, it is the disappearance of becoming.

The seventh question:

Question 7:


Deva Pagal, freedom has to be understood. It is a very delicate matter, a very subtle matter, one of the most profound, because freedom is equivalent to God.

That's why Mahavira refused the existence of God, because he accepted the existence of freedom, and that was enough. He called ultimate freedom moksha. Moksha means absolute freedom, ultimate freedom; then there is no need for God. Freedom is another name for God.

Three things have to be understood. First, there is a kind of freedom that you are acquainted with:

that is freedom from. A child wants to be free of the parents. The slave wants to be free from the master, from the boss. This is freedom from; it is a reaction, it is the ego asserting itself. And I am not saying there is anything wrong in it; you just have to watch the different colors of freedom.

When you are seeking freedom from, sooner or later you will fall into another trap - because it is a reaction and not an understanding. That's what happened in all the revolutions in the past. In 1917 the poor masses of Russia revolted against the Czar, wanted to be free from Czardom. And they became free just to become slaves again, because they had no positive idea of freedom. Their idea of freedom was negative. Their whole interest was how to be free from the Czar. They forgot, they completely forgot, that just to be free from the Czar was not going to help; some other Czar would be waiting.

The moment you are free from the old Czar, the new Czar will jump upon you - and the new will be more powerful, and the new will create a far more dangerous slavery, because the new will know that you can revolt. You have revolted against the old: he will have to make a better, stronger structure of slavery so that you cannot revolt anymore. He will be more cautious, obviously.

That's what happened in Russia. Stalin proved to be a greater Czar than all the Czars put together.

He massacred, murdered more people than all the Czars put together. Even Ivan the Terrible was not so terrible as Josef Stalin proved to be. Stalin was not his real name, but given by the people.

It was given in appreciation, but in fact it is not a compliment. "Stalin" means "a man of steel". Yes, we call strong people, courageous people, men of steel. But in fact it proved to be just a derogatory thing: he proved to be a man without heart.

The real man of strength is not without heart, because without heart you are a machine, not a man.

The real man of strength is hard as steel and as soft as a lotus petal. Only then has a real man attained. But Stalin was just steel, a robot - no heart, no compassion, no love. He killed millions of Russians, he created the greatest slavery yet in history. Even Adolf Hitler was far behind him.

Adolf Hitler had concentration camps, true, but Stalin made the whole country a concentration camp.

Russia is a concentration camp, there is nothing else; the whole country is a concentration camp.

Every single person is watched, people are put against each other. You cannot even talk to your own wife honestly, because who knows? - she may report against you. You cannot even talk to your children because they are members of the youth league; they may report against you. And they are being taught, women are being taught, that the country, communism, is the only value; everything else can be sacrificed for it. Small children are being taught to detect and spy on their fathers and mothers, on what they are talking about, and report it - because communism is God. Everything else can be sacrificed.

The whole country became a concentration camp. People became afraid even to think, because who knows? - there may be some way of knowing your thoughts. There may be an electrode fixed in your head - who knows? - which goes on broadcasting to the communist party what you are thinking.

Now it is possible, scientifically it is possible, to fix electrodes in your head. You will never be aware of them, because deep inside your skull there is no sensitivity. So if something is put there you will never know about it, you will not feel its presence. But it can go on reporting what you are thinking to the headquarters, what kind of thoughts are moving in you; it can give signals. And there is every possibility that it is going to be practiced on people in communist countries.

People revolted against the Czar just to fall into the hands and clutches of a far more dangerous Czar. Russia seems to be the only country where revolution has no possibility; its very roots are cut.

It seems impossible that Russia will ever go through a revolution again.

So when you are seeking freedom from.... For example, if you are searching for freedom from the society, the established society, then you will fall into the trap of some alternative society. You will become a hippie or a yippie or something, and there you will again be in the same trap. If the established society wants you not to wear long hair, then in the hippie community you will be asked to wear long hair. If you do not have long hair you will look odd. People will laugh at you, they will think that you are a square. They will think that you are stupid, that you are not a rebel. So if you are trying to escape from one slavery, you are bound to fall into another, because your inner mechanism is already conditioned to being a slave. You can change masters, that's all.

The Christian can become a Hindu, the Hindu can become a Mohammedan, the Mohammedan can become a Jew - it doesn't matter. You only change masters, you remain the same. First you Were dependent on the Hindu priest, now you are dependent on the Christian minister. First you were dependent on the Koran, now you depend on the Geeta, but dependence continues. This is not true freedom.

Freedom from is not true freedom.

Then there is another kind of freedom: freedom for - the second kind of freedom, which is far better than the first. The first is negative. The second is positive: one wants to be free to do something. For example, you want to be free of your family because you are in love with music. You are not really against the family. You are for music, and the family creates a hindrance, so you escape from the family. You are not against the family, against the parents, but they want you to become an engineer and you want to become a musician.

And it is good to be a musician even if you have to suffer for it. It is better to be a musician if you really want to be a musician, if you have a passion for it, than to be a successful engineer, rich, comfortable, safe. You can be safe, rich, comfortable, secure, but you will be dead if you do something which you never wanted to do. If you want to become a musician or a dancer or a poet and that is your passion, then go for it. You may be a beggar, you may never become known, you may never be rich - because the society does not need much poetry.

The society does not need much music, it needs more weapons to kill. It does not need poetry because poetry cannot be of much use in War. It needs atom bombs, hydrogen bombs. It needs soldiers, not sannyasins. It is a society based on hate, it is a society which is rooted in violence. It is a society which is greedy and lives through greed, ambition, lust - lust for power.

If you become a good ladder climber your parents will be happy - although the ladder leads nowhere.

One day suddenly when you have become the president of the country, on the last rung of the ladder, then you see the point: that you have come to the highest and now it looks as if your whole life has been a wastage - because the ladder leads nowhere. You are just in the sky, hanging. You have not arrived anywhere.

But now to say this is not right... because at least the people who have not arrived believe that you have reached. To say, "I have not reached," will need great guts.

That's what Buddha did when he renounced his kingdom. He said, "There is nothing." That's what Mahavira did when he renounced his kingdom, what Ibrahim did when he renounced his kingdom; he said, "There is nothing. " But these people are really courageous people. Otherwise it looks so stupid; when everybody thinks you have reached, why say it? Why not let the illusion continue?

And what is the point in saying that you have been after something which was absolutely absurd, ridiculous, that your whole life has been foolish? Why Say it, why confess it? Just keep quiet. Go on holding on to the top, remain there till you die, but never tell the secret to anybody because that will prove that your whole life has been just a life of utter mediocrity, unintelligence.

If you want to be a musician or a poet, be a musician, be a poet. And this is a second kind of freedom: you will be at least happy that you are doing your own thing, not somebody else's thing.

And this is my experience: that to be doing one's own thing is the greatest joy in the world - whatsoever that thing is appreciated by the society or not, valued by the society or not, whether it can be sold in the marketplace as a commodity or not. If it is the thing that you passionately desire, intensely desire, then do it; and whatsoever the cost, sacrifice yourself for it.

This is the second kind of freedom: freedom for. This is a positive approach, better than the first.

The first type of person becomes a politician. The second type of person becomes a poet, a painter, an artist. The first freedom is negative, the second freedom is positive - but remember, they are aspects of the same thing.

Even the first type of freedom at least pretends that there is some goal. Even the politician says, "We are fighting to be free - from this kind of society, this kind of structure, this kind of politics. We are fighting to be free from this society just to create another society. We are fighting for some goal, some value, some utopia, some ideology." Even he has to pretend that, because the negative cannot exist alone; at least the positive has to be talked about. So communism talks about a classless society, utopia, where everything will be beautiful, where paradise will have descended on the earth. It will take infinity, but that goal has to be given. Otherwise people will not fight for a negative freedom.

So the negative implies the positive; and vice versa, the positive implies the negative. When you want to become a painter and your parents are not agreeing and your society thinks it is foolish, you have to fight with them. So freedom for will have something to do with freedom from; they both are together.

The real freedom is the third kind, the transcendental freedom. What is that? It is neither from nor for; it is simply freedom. It is just freedom. That is moksha: just freedom. Neither against anybody - it is not a reaction; nor to create some future - there is no goal. One simply enjoys being oneself, for its own sake; it is an end unto itself.

Freedom from creates the politician, the reformer, the social servant, the communist, the socialist, the fascist. Freedom for creates the artist, the painter, the poet, the dancer, the musician. And just freedom for its own sake creates the sannyasin, the spiritual person, the truly religious.

Pagal, your question is, "We must be free. Yet where does freedom end and selfishness begin?"

The first two are selfish, ego-oriented. The first, freedom from, is very egoistic because it has to fight against. It is violent; it has to be very egoistic. It has to disobey, it has to destroy, it has to conspire against the status quo. It needs great ego. The politician is nothing but pure ego.

The second, freedom for, also has ego, but more delicate, more subtle, not so gross as the politician's. The musician also has the ego, but more delicate, softer, more gentlemanly. The poet also has the ego, but nice, sweet, not so bitter as the first. They both are ego expressions.

Only in the third, pure freedom - neither against nor for - is there no ego and is there no selfishness, because the third freedom happens only when the ego has evaporated. If the ego is still there, the freedom may be either the first or the second. The third requires as basic the phenomenon of the disappearance of the ego :FANA. One has to understand the ego to attain the third freedom.

Watch the ways of the ego. Go on watching. There is no need to fight for, no need to fight against; there is only just one need: to watch and be aware of how the ego functions, its mechanism. And slowly, slowly out of that awareness, one day the ego is found no more. Because the ego can exist only in unawareness. When awareness comes and the light comes, the ego disappears like darkness. And then there is freedom. That freedom knows no ego.

And that freedom is love, and that freedom is God. That freedom is nirvana, that freedom is truth.

In that freedom you exist in God, God exists in you. Then nothing wrong can ever happen through you. Then your life is virtue. Then your very breathing is meditation. Then you walk and it is poetry.

Then you sit silently and it is dance. Then you are a blessing to the world. You are blessed.

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Mulla Nasrudin's weekend guest was being driven to the station
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"NO, SIR," said the chauffeur. "THE MULLA SAID IF DID, I'D LOSE MY JOB."